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Philippines, U.S. sign partnership for economic growth

(Xinhua)

15:55, November 16, 2011

Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III (C) looks as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario (R) sign the Joint Statement of Principles on the Partnership for Growth in the Malacanan Palace in Manila, capital of the Philippines, on Nov. 16, 2011. The Philippines and the United States signed here on Wednesday a five-year program that will enhance Manila's capability to create a more competitive business environment, strengthen the rule of law and support fiscal stability. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)

MANILA, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines and the United States signed here on Wednesday a five-year program that will enhance Manila's capability to create a more competitive business environment, strengthen the rule of law and support fiscal stability.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton inked the Joint Statement of Principles on the Partnership for Growth between the two countries. Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III witnessed the ceremony.

Del Rosario said this agreement is in line with the government' s "pursuit of a broad-based economic growth".

For her part, Clinton said that the United States values its economic and development ties with the Philippines.

"The Philippines' selection in this dynamic partnership shows the United States' commitment to an economically stronger Philippines," she said.

Clinton said U.S. President Barack Obama has invited Aquino for a state visit to America early next year, adding that this visit will strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

"We want to make it clear that our military relationship, like every other aspect of our relationship, is one based on mutual respect and mutual interest," she said.

"We think that the time has come for us to look at how we can update our military relationship moving into the future knowing there are new challenges and new opportunities for us to be working together," she added.

Clinton said that consultations will also be conducted in January next year between the defense and foreign secretaries of the two countries in Washington.

She said the "two plus two" format meeting will be the first time that all four secretaries will sit down together to take a comprehensive look at the partnership of the two nations.

Clinton arrived in Manila Tuesday to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.

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